Sunday, January 17, 2010

Homemade Backpacks

I like the idea of the kids having their own bags when we go out. I know this means another two things to count (and another two things to possibly lose!) but I think it will be worth the effort. The plan is that the kids will be empowered to pack and carry their own bags, and be responsible for looking after their own things. That's the plan anyway!

I used the Toddler Backpack pattern from Made by Rae after seeing the pattern and some very cool truck fabric over at Angie's place. I told Angie I loved the trucks and she sent me some. Sweet her... lucky me!





I used denim as the base for the backpacks and laid out a heap of fabrics for the kids to pick one for the front. My boy chose the trucks and my girl chose purple on green 'Pets and Bones', a super cute print from Thea & Sami.



The instructions were easy to follow but they are a lot of work to make. Even though I used a heavy denim and added extra structure to the base, they don't hold their shape very well. I saw that Karen has also made one and is going to add interfacing next time, which would help.

This project challenged my "when to make, when to buy" thinking in terms of time and costs.... especially when my boy let out a very loud squeal of delight at a $5 Thomas the Tank Engine backpack in Coles.... hmmmmmmm!



Edited to add: Karen has used interfacing and template plastic and purse feet to help with the structure of the backpack. Check out her hints here....

34 comments:

m.e (Cathie) said...

good to see you back! missed you.
love the backpacks & at least you know that you made it with love & they will have them for many years to come.

beccasauras said...

So cute!! I know, sometimes it's easier to buy something, but i'm with Cathie, it's the love you put in them! My girl tells me that she can feels the love in her clothes etc, and quilts, and that is worth more than anything! I feel like that about the lunchbag project!

yardage girl said...

These are lovely, and they will be appreciated both now and in later years because you made them. You are so clever! Nic xx

Vic said...

Naaaaaaw, so cute!

I just saw that pattern today actually, in my blog wandering, but I don't have to go so far as to actually consider making it, oh no, Punky got a cute backpack in a showbag last year which she quite likes, she fills it with things (you know the usual type of thing 2 year olds like to drag around, tins of kidney beans, measuring cups, that sort of thing...) and lugs it from room to room....

Tanya said...

They look fantastic. When to make, when to buy- good question. Slightly off track, but, I hated it how my girl said, (after making her lovely clothes for which she chose pattern, fabric and did love and wear)- "ooh, I hope I get something from Pumpkin Patch for Christmas- they have nice clothes and dresses"...go figure. I thought it interesting (and didn't think it was that great, to be honest!) that they (PP)already had a 'brand presence' in her young (7) life.

Sarah said...

WOW those packs look so super professional! They would have been a bit of work.

I totally relate about the children eyeing off a store version of your own made version... I try to find the balance between keeping happy mum and satisfied mum... hard though!

Becky said...

Time? Well maybe that would be easily used elsewhere, but if you love sewing it is recreation as well...

june at noon said...

Wow, they look very well made! Some projects just suck up a lot of time, don't they?

We have two little drawstring backpacks for church days, and it is definitely a handful carrying those bags plus my own plus any other thing we might need to deliver to someone or have handy. Some days I end up with a larger tote bag to stuff all the smaller bags into so I can distribute them to the right people later. Life with kids, right? ;)

Liam's Mummy said...

Your backpacks are very cute, and I'm sure they are of better quality and will out last a $5 supermarket Thomas one any day.

My word verification is firey - so I'm thinking they will outlast a Fireman Sam one too.

Linda said...

wow Nikki these are amazing! so much work in them, you are a legend really I just couldn't do it, maybe one but not two!!! happy new year xx

CurlyPops said...

Now they're just gorgeous, and sooooo much better than the character $5 one!
I'd love to make a backpack for myself. I'm hoping that the other Nikki will design a pattern with great interfacing.

Stephanie and Carlos said...

Yay Nikki's back woot woot. I am glad to see someone doing some sewing. I need to get back into it really soon. They look very special and no one else will have a back pack like them so really it's smarter thinking and way better than Thomas!!

I may have to purchase the pattern to make one for Bear and Bubble!! Nnnwwaaaahhh...hehe

xo Steph

Thea said...

Too, too cute and the bags aren't bad either! x

Cath from chunkychooky said...

That is brilliant! honestly, you are too bloody clever!!!

Busy has here own bag and we do encourgae her to pack it before we go to someones house. I bought but i love it- its a monster.
BTW - love the truck fabric!!!

Cass said...

Nikki great job. I have it all cut out ready to sew but keep procrastinating

Tricia said...

So cute! and very very clever! I'm impressed you even tried to make a back pack. I'm sure your boy will love his far longer than he would have loved a $5 Thomas one.

I bought Little eco's back pack a year or so ago. I considered making one - but went for the 'buy quality to last' option. Its by an Australian designer - but I literally could not find an Australian made one.

Tricia
x

dillpickle said...

Your backpacks are way better than a Thomas one, and will probably hold together for longer too!

I like the idea of giving kids a little bit of responsibility from when they're small. At this stage it means they feel special and important because they've got their own bag to carry (even if there's hardly anything in it!), and they're less likely to complain about doing a few things for themselves when they're older if it's normal for them to contribute. Good plan!

6p00e553f28a8d8833 said...

Oh be still my heart - utterly gorgeous!!!!
The when to buy/when to make balance is really hard, but I figure at the end of the day, if you want to make it, that outweighs any calculations on cost comparisons etc etc, because it becomes something you are emotionally invested in and really, why wouldn't you, when they come out so gorgeously???
(Oh, and my 2 have had their own bags since forever as well - so so great! For itty bitty backpacks, I found having a couple of swivel hook thingummys on my bag (when I remembered to take one!) helped with corralling them all...especially in those two-kids-too-tired-to-carry-anything-and-one-has-a-blister-and-must-be-carried-and-the-other-wants-a-piggy-back-but-you've-negotiated-hand-holding-so-long-as-no-bags-bump-against-him scenarios. You know what I mean!)

beck said...

Nothing beats what Mum can make. Your own creations are so original and no other kids will have the same so you can't really compare. I loved the photo's of your two sweeties, how cute they are xo

Posie Patchwork said...

They're pretty cool. I just like the fact children are capable of carrying their own stuff, helps with their independence & makes them think twice about what they really need to take with them. That said, i am often the mum looking like a pack horse carrying 4 heavy back packs to the car after school!! Love Posie

Sally said...

Those backpacks are wonderful. They look so cute on your little folk. Adorable.
I know what you mean about the time cost balance - but I think these treasures will be much loved over time and so well worth the time investment.
My almost mr 3 LOVES to pack his backpack and take it with him when we're out. Tends to overpack though for most trips - I ask you - is it really necessary to pack 5 pairs of undies, two changes of clothes, a winter wooly, a couple of books and some craft supplies when we're going grocery shopping?

Gina said...

Soooo cute Nikki, but I hear your pain on the 'when to make, when to buy' front. I guess you have to try these things to figure that out. Plus you took the environmentally-friendly option of making yourself so you can at least feel good about that!!

I'm having a giggle about the kids picking the fabrics. What did you do, hold them over your stash and see which ones they dribbled on first?! That's what would happen if I let my two at it.

Isis said...

these are fabulous!!! nice work

Happydacks said...

Nice thinking Nikki,
Having their own bags and being responsible for themselves, great stuff!
Love the bags and the SO CUTE photos!
Hey, I bet the person/s that made the Thomas bag for "supermarket" would have to work a long while to get their $5.
You did great in so many ways!
Cheers
Michele x

handmaiden said...

Nikki, they are terrific........hope u r getting the balance better......sorry I missed you at tinniegirls last week, but I have alot going on also...best wishes for 2010

MiM said...

gorgeous, that truck fabric is awesome as are the bags x

Cindy said...

How cute do they look off adventuring with their own little backpacks! I think that the balance of what to make vs time is a really interesting one, that I always undervalue. Even if they were a little squishy they look fabulous

Angie said...

The bags look great!

You even managed to tone down that truckin' fabric (what to do with all the left over trucks though!)

My version was also a bit floppy but it has been through the wash a couple of times as well (couldn't do that with the falling apart Bob bag he had been given).

I enjoyed learning about piping as I had not used it before & despite the time it took to make it I think the next one will be faster & modified for a bit more structure.

It is hard to decide when to buy, when to sew. My thinking usually takes into account: how much money we have at the time, how much buying a handmade version would be, how much I want to do it, how quickly it needs to be done(no use pretending I can get anything done quickly around here!)

One pair of Hands said...

Those little ones just twist my heart. The back packs are pretty nice too, and the strategy works; as the oldest of 6 kids who Dad's motto was "You bring it, you carry it." It's stayed with me to this day.

Karen said...

These are rally sweet Nikki and I hear yo on the 'when to make vs buy' thing as I am working on my hird and fourthof these.

I will say the interfacing has made a huge difference to the finished product - but that said it has placed more 'pressure' on m machine due to the extra bulk of someof the seams.
That said I agree with a lot of the PP's in that these are so much more personal and it's great that you don't have to do character prints.

Faith Hope and a whole lotta Love said...

Oh look at your little ones growing up! so adorable & so are those back packs! well done XO

Sandrine said...

They look GREAT!very clever :)

Bellgirl said...

Hi Nikki, I just found this post via Hoppo Bumpo's post on the Made By Rae backpack- congratulations they looks beautiful!

I know what you mean about the 'When to make, when to buy' thing ;) however, I hate being held hostage by the Thomas Tank Engine marketing- my son loves Thomas too, and I can't walk through Spotlight without having to stop and look at it all! Just as well he doesn't know about buying things yet ;)

Anyway, I made the same backpack with interfacing, and it holds its shape well, although it was a bit tougher to sew: http://bellgirl.com.au/2010/02/bugpack.html

Treacle Beak said...

You did an amazing job on the backpacks, Nik. They look so professionally done, but unlike any other child has. I'm sure they'll be using those for a very long time.